Re: help with a new potential sailor
I think you would be able to get involved in sailing. I know here in San Diego there is a group specifically catering to taking people out with different handicaps to enjoy sailing. They have special boats that can be sailed by an experienced sailor while the learning sailor can step up and take on more roles as they learn and become comfortable. They also have an Transpac team that consists of boat where the entire crew has some sort of handicap.
I have often tried to sail without looking at the sails by the feel of the boat, but think hearing has something to do with the ability to feel how the boat reacts to the tiller and sail trim inputs. There are other physical inputs also that help though, like wind on the body, heal of the boat and tiller pressure.
I think the skills needed to sail could be overcome with your handicaps but as far as sailing solo you might have some problems with navigation and right of way rules. Many of the COLREG rules are based on right of way, maintaining a proper lookout and seeing and avoiding other boats. Without vision to see other boats or determine what type of boats they are, what they are doing, fishing, towing, starboard tack, you can not adequately provide a safe watch and determine right of way. There would also be some navigational challenges as you need to be able to spot landmarks, buoys and aids to navigation.
Here are some of the COLREGS describing the duties of the boater in terms of keeping a proper lookout and determining right of way.
Every vessel must at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing, as well as by all available means in order to make a full assessment of the situation and risk of collision.
7. Risk of Collision
Vessels must use all available means to determine the risk of a collision, including the use of radar (if available) to get early warning of the risk of collision by radar plotting or equivalent systematic observation of detected objects. (e.g. ARPA, AIS).
If the distance of any vessel is reducing and her compass bearing is not changing much or it is a large vessel or towing vessel at close distance, or if there is any doubt, then a risk of collision shall be deemed to exist.
West Wight Potter 14 "Lemon Drop"
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